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Watch Eddie Van Halen Show Off His Elephant and Horse Tricks

Today, we thought it would be fun to dust off this vintage clip of Eddie Van Halen showing off some of his guitar tricks.

The source for this is a 1986 video for MTV, made while Van Halen were out on their 5150 tour.

In it, Ed clowns around for the camera by demonstrating his elephant and horse sound effects. The elephant effect is performed by tapping a few harmonics with the guitar’s volume control turned down, then raising the volume while pulling up on the whammy bar. 

The horse sound effect involves raking three or four strings, hitting a high-pitched note with a pick harmonic and using the whammy bar to raise the pitch up and down.

To watch Eddie demonstrate the effects, skip on over to 1:13.

Christopher Scapelliti
Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.